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21 may

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“When fighting the epidemic, what is most important is the ability of the state to take effective medical measures available to the entire population” — Sergey Ordzhonikidze

The Civic Chamber of the Russian Federation and the Vietnamese Fatherland Front exchanged experiences of both countries in the fight against coronavirus

“When fighting the epidemic, what is most important is the ability of the state to take effective medical measures available to the entire population” — Sergey Ordzhonikidze

On May 21, the Civic Chamber of the Russian Federation held an online conference with the Vietnamese Fatherland Front in order to exchange experience in combating the spread of the novel coronavirus and the ensuing consequences.

“Today we need coordinated, decisive and innovative actions from all countries of the world. It is difficult to overestimate the importance of dialogue between states, however, I believe that in the current situation it is the civil societies of countries that should take on additional responsibility to support national governments in the fight against coronavirus,” said Vice President of the Civic Chamber Sergey Ordzhonikidze in his opening speech.

He emphasized that against the backdrop of the worsening epidemiological situation across the world due to the coronavirus pandemic, countries and peoples should come together in the face of the common threat, cooperate in solving the problems caused by the pandemic, and stop exerting political, economic or any other pressure on each other.

“Speaking about joint actions in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, we must touch upon the issue of humanitarian assistance. We are deeply grateful and we highly appreciate the numerous shipments of humanitarian supplies to Russia that are carried out by Vietnamese state institutions and national organizations,” said Sergey Ordzhonikidze during his speech.

At the same time, he noted that Russia also provided assistance to help fight against the novel virus to various countries, including China, Italy, the USA, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Syria, as well as countries of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU).

“We also accept help from any country willing to help,” he added, referring to countries such as China, the USA and Uzbekistan.

The Vice President of the Vietnamese Fatherland Front Fung Khan Tai voiced the motto of Vietnam: “Fighting the pandemic means fighting a common enemy.”
 
“Despite limited resources, we always give priority to protecting the health and life of our citizens. All instructions and directives of the state were successfully relayed to all local authorities and virtually every resident of the country. All our efforts were aimed at curbing the spread of the virus," he stressed.

Furthermore, the Director of the Department of Preventive Medicine under the Ministry of Health of Vietnam, permanent member of the State Committee to Combat COVID-19 Đặng Quang Tuấn delivered a speech at the meeting. He noted that the country had not yet registered a single fatality from the novel coronavirus. He highlighted one other positive moment — over the past 34 days not a single new case of infection had been detected in Vietnam, specifically among the permanent residents of the socialist republic.

“We were the first country in the world to introduce the 14-day period of compulsory quarantine for all persons entering our country. During the 14-day period, we tested them for the presence of coronavirus,” he said.

The representative of the Ministry of Health noted that Vietnam actively involved the military in countering the spread of COVID-19, as well as private clinics for the treatment of infected patients.

“Our strategy is to identify the disease at the early stage, rigidly isolate the infected and, of course, treat them,” he added, pointing out that Vietnam was 142nd in terms of the number of coronavirus patients.

At the same time, Russia holds second place in the total number of patients with coronavirus, according to Deputy Chair of the Civic Chamber Commission on Healthcare and Public Health Development Valentina Tsyvova.

“Our doctors are doing the best they can — they work around the clock in hospitals treating patients with coronavirus. I would like to say a big thank you to our doctors who are in the first line of defence against COVID-19. It is good that our colleagues in Vietnam do not have to deal with the same number of infections. It is really very difficult to curb the virus,” said Valentina Tsyvova.

Issues in regard to mental health of citizens and information security were raised by the Deputy Chairman of the Civic Chamber Commission on Security and Cooperation with Public Monitoring Commissions Mikhail Anichkin. He was quoted as saying: “For two months now, the population of our country has been in a state of self-isolation, but also under the influence of mass psychosis and fear especially from the mass media. Nevertheless, life goes on and we need to carry on with our lives, our personal development, as well as overcome all difficulties and return to our usual way of existence – I believe that it is important to convey these messages to our citizens.”

“The situation is aggravated by the large amount of false information associated with the novel coronavirus,” said Alexander Malkevich, Chairman of the Civic Chamber Commission on Development of Information Community, Mass Media and Mass Communications.

He recalled that the Civic Chamber and the Foundation for the Protection of National Values  developed recommendations on how to distinguish between false information regarding coronavirus on the Internet and authentic content so that citizens across the country could have a genuine picture of what was going on.

“We started the relevant systematic work a year ago. Even then we talked about the fact that one of our crucial directions is countering the spread of fake news and misinformation. By the end of 2019, we prepared a report ‘12 new informational threats to civil society’ and in the spring of 2020 we updated this report, adding three new clauses,” he said.

In turn, Alexander Malkevich presented his video project "No Fakes" to his Vietnamese colleagues, dedicated to the analysis of false information in relation to the coronavirus pandemic.

“The demand for this project is very high — at the moment we have exceeded two million views. Part of the problem is that, unfortunately, numerous fake messages are emerging on the Internet against us and our country, designed to disrupt the socio-political situation,” said Alexander Malkevich.

Member of the Civic Chamber Commission on Healthcare and Public Health Development, Chief Psychiatrist at the Moscow City Health Department Georgy Kostyuk touched upon the topic of citizens’ psychological state.

“I am responsible for the mental health sphere in the city of Moscow and I would like to note that, all in all, the coronavirus pandemic has not affected the performance of our services. Nonetheless, there is the most vulnerable group — senior citizens over the age of 65 years. Most of all, they need the right information and proper advice, as they are heavily influenced by the media today. This category of citizens suffers the most from coronavirus complications in case of infection. We have this category under special attention and care — we conduct the necessary research and we are engaged in addressing their mental state to prevent the development of depression which very often leads to the acceleration of dementia,” he said.

Experts from the Ministry of Health of the Russian Federation were also present at the meeting, stressing that the experience of such international meetings was extremely important.

Concluding the conference, Sergey Ordzhonikidze thanked his Vietnamese colleagues for the exchange of experience. “For us, this was a very important meeting because the experience of Vietnam has been very effective,” he stated.

He noted that a large number of countries pursued similar efforts in the fight against COVID-19. “The only proper recommendations to follow are those from the World Health Organization (WHO), and it all depends on how they are implemented. In particular, information relating to curbing the spread of the virus. If there is strict daily control in society taking into account every small detail, then these recommendations will work. Vietnam’s experience suggests that the country, owing to various circumstances, was able to take action early on and began strictly following instructions of the World Health Organization.”

“In addition, as the global, and in particular the Vietnamese experience, has shown, amidst the coronavirus pandemic, it is not the technological level of medicine that matters (although, of course, this is an advantage), but also the ability of the state to take effective medical measures available to the entire population of the country so as to minimize the suffering of citizens, as well as damage to the economic and social sphere,” he concluded.

Tags: Sergey Ordzhonikidze, Mikhail Anichkin, Georgiy Kostyuk, Alexander Malkevich, Valentina Tsyvova

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